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Big Sagebrush Fire Ecology and Management

Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems occupy more than 100 million acres of the western United States. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities are among the most widespread of sagebrush communities. The land area historically occupied by sagebrush has been reduced by nearly half due to a variety of causes, including human development, agriculture, woodland expansion, nonnative plant invasions, overgrazing by livestock, and climate changes. About 30% of the land formerly occupied by sagebrush communities has been converted to other land cover types, including conifer woodlands and nonnative annual grasslands, and additional areas are under threat of conversion. This is concerning not only because many species rely on sagebrush communities, but because these altered land cover types differ from sagebrush communities in their fire ecology and fire regimes. For example, conifer woodlands have higher woody fuel loads and altered fuel structures that increase the potential for high-intensity, stand-replacing crown fire. Fires in nonnative annual grasslands tend to be more frequent, larger, faster spreading, and more severe than in sagebrush communities, which can result in a grass/fire cycle that prevents sagebrush from reestablishing. Resources listed here contain the most recent and applicable information on these topics for big sagebrush ecosystems in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Upcoming Events

None.

Syntheses

2018 Greater sage-grouse science (2015–17)—Synthesis and potential management implications
Steven E. Hanser, Patricia A. Deibert, John C. Tull, Natasha B. Carr, Cameron L. Aldridge, Travis D. Bargsten, Thomas J. Christiansen, Peter S. Coates, Michele R. Crist, Kevin E. Doherty, Ethan A. Ellsworth, Lee J. Foster, Vicki A. Herren, Kevin H. Miller, Ann Moser, Robin M. Naeve, Karen L. Prentice, Thomas E. Remington, Mark A. Ricca, Douglas J. Shinneman, Richard L. Truex, Lief A. Wiechman, Dereck C. Wilson, Z.H. Bowen
2005 Restoring Wyoming big sagebrush
Cindy R. Lysne
2002 Artemisia arbuscula (low sagebrush)
Peter D. Steinberg

Publications/Reports

2018 Plant community factors correlated with wyoming big sagebrush site responses to fire
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
John C. Swanson, Peter J. Murphy, Sherman R. Swanson, Brad W. Schultz, Kent J. McAdoo
2018 A conservation paradox in the Great Basin-altering sagebrush landscapes with fuel breaks to reduce habitat loss from wildfire
Technical Report or White Paper
Douglas J. Shinneman, Cameron L. Aldridge, Peter S. Coates, Matthew J. Germino, David S. Pilliod, Nicole M. Vaillant
2018 Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to quantitatively determine subspecies
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Bryce A. Richardson, Alicia A. Boyd, Tanner Tobiasson, Matthew J. Germino
2018 Annotated Bibliography: Research on Greater Sage-grouse since January 2015
Technical Report or White Paper
Sarah Carter, D.J. Manier, Robert S. Arkle, A.N. Johnston, Susan L. Phillips, Steven E. Hanser, Z.H. Bowen
2017 Seed Production Estimation for Mountain Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana)
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Melissa L. Landeen, Loreen Allphen, Stanley G. Kitchen, Stephen L. Petersen
2017 Climate adaption and post-fire restoration of a foundational perennial in cold desert: Insights from intraspecific variation in response to weather
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Martha M. Brabec, Matthew J. Germino, Bryce A. Richardson
2017 Pretreatment tree dominance and conifer removal treatments affect plant succession in sagebrush communities
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Rachel E. Williams, Bruce A. Roundy, April Hulet, Richard F. Miller, Robin J. Tausch, Jeanne C. Chambers, Jeffrey Matthews, Robert Schooley, Dennis Eggett
2017 Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage persistent threats to sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jeanne C. Chambers, Jeremy D. Maestas, David A. Pyke, Chad S. Boyd, Michael L. Pellant, Amarina Wuenschel
2017 Genetic recapture identifies long-distance breeding dispersal in Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Todd Cross, David E. Naugle, John Carlson, Michael K. Schwartz
2017 Emerging technology to measure habitat quality and behavior of grouse: Examples from studies of greater sage-grouse
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jennifer Sorensen Forbey, Gail L. Patricelli, Donna M. Delparte, Alan H. Krakauer, Peter J. Olsoy, Marcella R. Fremgen, Jordan D. Nobler, Lucas P. Spaete, Lisa A. Shipley, Janet L. Rachlow, Amy K. Dirksen, Anna Perry, Bryce A. Richardson, Nancy F. Glenn
2017 Effects of conifer treatments on soil nutrient availability and plant composition in sagebrush steppe
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jonathan D. Bates, Kirk W. Davies
2017 Restoring Sage-Grouse Habitat after Fire: Success of Different Restoration Methods across an Elevation Gradient - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program
Technical Report or White Paper
Kirk W. Davies, Matthew Madsen, Chad S. Boyd, Michael A. Gregg, April Hulet, Urban Strachan
2016 Seasonal relationships between foliar moisture content, heat content and biochemistry of lodgepole pine and big sagebrush foliage
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Yi Qi, William Matt Jolly, Philip E. Dennison, Rachel C. Kropp
2016 Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage threats to sagebrush ecosystems, Gunnison sage-grouse, and Greater sage-grouse in their eastern range: a strategic multi-scale approach
Technical Report or White Paper
Jeanne C. Chambers, Jeffrey L. Beck, Steven B. Campbell, John Carlson, Thomas J. Christiansen, Karen J. Clause, Jonathan B. Dinkins, Douglas W. Havlina, Kevin E. Doherty, Kathleen A. Griffin, Douglas W. Havlina, Kenneth F. Henke, Jacob D. Hennig, Laurie L. Kurth, Jeremy D. Maestas, Mary Manning, Kenneth E. Mayer, Brian A. Mealor, Clinton McCarthy, Marco A. Perea, David A. Pyke
2015 Quantifying and predicting fuels and the effects of reduction treatments along successional and invasion gradients in sagebrush habitats - JFSP final report
Technical Report or White Paper
Douglas J. Shinneman, David S. Pilliod, Robert S. Arkle, Nancy F. Glenn
2015 Postfire shrub cover dynamics: A 70-year fire chronosequence in mountain big sagebrush communities
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Corey A. Moffet, J. Bret Taylor, D. Terrance Booth
2015 Simulated big sagebrush regeneration supports predicted changes at the trailing and leading edges of distribution shifts
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Daniel Schlaepfer, Kyle A. Taylor, Victoria E. Pennington, Kellen N. Nelson, Trace E. Martyn, Caitlin M. Rottler, William Lauenroth, John Bradford
2014 Resilience to stress and disturbance, and resistance to Bromus tectorum L. invasion in cold desert shrublands of western North America
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jeanne C. Chambers, Bethany A. Bradley, Cynthia S. Brown, Carla M. D'Antonio, Matthew J. Germino, James B. Grace, Stuart P. Hardegree, Richard F. Miller, David A. Pyke
2014 Quantifying restoration effectiveness using multi-scale habitat models: implications for sage-grouse in the Great Basin
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Robert S. Arkle, David S. Pilliod, Steven E. Hanser, Matthew L. Brooks, Jeanne C. Chambers, James B. Grace, Kevin C. Knutson, David A. Pyke, Justin L. Welty, Troy A. Wirth
2014 Cattle grazing and vegetation succession on burned sagebrush steppe
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jonathan D. Bates, Kirk W. Davies
2013 Models for predicting fuel consumption in sagebrush-dominated ecosystems
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Clinton S. Wright
2013 Managing high-elevation sagebrush steppe: do conifer encroachment and prescribed fire affect habitat for pygmy rabbits?
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Bonnie A. Woods, Janet L. Rachlow, Stephen C. Bunting, Timothy R. Johnson, Kelly Bocking
2013 Aboriginal precedent for active management of sagebrush-perennial grass communities in the Great Basin
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Kent J. McAdoo, Brad W. Schultz, Sherman R. Swanson
2013 The economics of fuel management: wildfire, invasive plants, and the dynamics of sagebrush rangelands in the western United States
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Michael H. Taylor, Kimberly Rollins, Mimako Kobayashi, Robin J. Tausch
2013 Summary of science, activities, programs, and policies that influence the rangewide conservation of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophanianus)
Technical Report or White Paper
D.J. Manier, D.J.A. Wood, Z.H. Bowen, R.M. Donovan, M.J. Holloran, L.M. Juliusson, K.S. Mayne, S.J. Oyler-McCance, F.R. Quamen, D.J. Saher, A.J. Titolo
2011 Potential and pitfalls of prescribed burning big sagebrush habitat to enhance nesting and early brood-rearing habitats for greater sage-grouse
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jeffrey L. Beck, J. Garrett Klein, Justin Wright, Kenneth P. Wolfley
2011 Saving the sagebrush sea: An ecosystem conservation plan for big sagebrush plant communities
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Kirk W. Davies, Chad S. Boyd, Jeffrey L. Beck, Jonathan D. Bates, Tony J. Svejcar, Michael A. Gregg
2011 Greater sage-grouse: Ecology and conservation of a landscape species and its habitats
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Steve Knick, John W. Connelly
2011 A regional experiment to evaluate effects of fire and fire surrogate treatments in the sagebrush biome - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program
Technical Report or White Paper
James D. McIver, Hugh Barrett, Mark W. Brunson, Stephen C. Bunting, Jeanne C. Chambers, Carla M. D'Antonio, Paul S. Doescher, Dale Johnson, Sherm Karl, Steve Knick, Richard F. Miller, Michael L. Pellant, Frederick B. Pierson, David A. Pyke, Kimberly Rollins, Bruce A. Roundy, Eugene Schupp, Robin J. Tausch, David Turner, Michael J. Wisdom
2011 Converting crested wheatgrass stands to enhance big sagebrush: A literature review
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Krystle A. Pehrson, Bok F. Sowell
2009 Recovery of greater sage-grouse habitat features in Wyoming big sagebrush following prescribed fire
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Jeffrey L. Beck, John W. Connelly, Kerry P. Reese
2007 Recovery of big sagebrush following fire in southwest Montana
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Peter Lesica, Stephen V. Cooper, Greg Kudray
2007 Post-fire recovery of Wyoming big sagebrush shrub-steppe in central and southeast Montana
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Stephen V. Cooper, Peter Lesica, Greg Kudray
2007 Big and black sagebrush landscapes
Conference Proceedings
Stanley G. Kitchen, E. Durant McArthur
2007 Modeling erosion on steep sagebrush rangeland before and after prescribed fire - proceedings
Conference Proceedings
Corey A. Moffet, Frederick B. Pierson, Kenneth E. Spaeth
2006 Short- and longer-term effects of fire and herbivory on sagebrush communities in south-central Montana
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Fred Van Dyke, Jeffrey A. Darragh
2006 History of fire and Douglas-fir establishment in a savanna and sagebrush-grassland mosaic, southwestern Montana, USA
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Emily K. Heyerdahl, Richard F. Miller, Russell A. Parsons
2006 Fire and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
William L. Baker
2006 Biomass consumption during prescribed fires in big sagebrush ecosystems
Conference Proceedings
Clinton S. Wright, Susan J. Prichard
2005 Effective management strategies for sage-grouse and sagebrush: a question of triage?
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Michael J. Wisdom, Mary M. Rowland, Robin J. Tausch
2005 Big sagebrush: A sea fragmented into lakes, ponds, and puddles
Technical Report or White Paper
Bruce L. Welch
2005 Restoring Wyoming big sagebrush
Conference Proceedings, Synthesis
Cindy R. Lysne
2005 Seeding considerations in restoring big sagebrush habitat
Conference Proceedings, Synthesis
Scott M. Lambert
2005 Reseeding big sagebrush: techniques and issues
Conference Proceedings
Nancy L. Shaw, Ann M. DeBolt, Roger Rosentreter
2005 Sagebrush steppe and pinyon-juniper ecosystems - effects of changing fire regimes, increased fuel loads, and invasive species - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program
Technical Report or White Paper
Jeanne C. Chambers, E. Durant McArthur, Stephen B. Monsen, Susan E. Meyer, Nancy L. Shaw, Robin J. Tausch, Robert R. Blank, Stephen C. Bunting, Richard R. Miller, Michael L. Pellant, Bruce A. Roundy, Scott C. Walker
2005 The role of fire in structuring sagebrush habitats and bird communities
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Steve Knick, Aaron L. Holmes, Richard F. Miller
2004 Establishment of aerially seeded big sagebrush following southern Idaho wildfires
Technical Report or White Paper
Cindy R. Lysne, Michael L. Pellant
2003 Countering misinformation concerning big sagebrush
Technical Report or White Paper
Bruce L. Welch, Craig Criddle
2003 Impacts of fire on hydrology and erosion in steep mountain big sagebrush communities
Conference Proceedings
Frederick B. Pierson, Peter R. Robichaud, Kenneth E. Spaeth, Corey A. Moffet
2001 The role of fire in juniper and pinyon woodlands: a descriptive analysis
Conference Proceedings
Richard F. Miller, Robin J. Tausch
2000 Long-term effects of fire on sage grouse habitat
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Pamela J. Nelle, Kerry P. Reese, John W. Connelly
1999 Response of shrubs in big sagebrush habitats to fire on the northern Yellowstone winter range
Conference Proceedings
Carl L. Wambolt, Trista L. Hoffman, Chris A. Mehus
1996 Long-term recovery of Wyoming big sagebrush after four treatments
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Myles J. Watts, Carl L. Wambolt
1996 An investigation on fire effects within xeric sage grouse brood habitat
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Richard A. Fischer, Kerry P. Reese, John W. Connelly
1994 VA mycorrhizal status of burned and unburned sagebrush habitat
Conference Proceedings, Technical Report or White Paper
Jan E. Gurr, Marcia Wicklow-Howard
1986 Sagebrush over time: A photographic study of rangeland change
Conference Proceedings
Kendall L. Johnson
1983 Fire history at the forest-grassland ecotone in southwestern Montana
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Stephen F. Arno, George E. Gruell
1982 Fuel and fire behavior prediction in big sagebrush
Technical Report or White Paper
James K. Brown
1979 The role and use of fire in sagebrush-grass and pinyon-juniper plant communities: a state-of-the-art review
Synthesis, Technical Report or White Paper
Henry A. Wright, Leon F. Neuenschwander, Carlton M. Britton
1975 Presettlement vegetation in the sagebrush-grass area of the Intermountain West
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Thomas R. Vale
1973 30 years of vegetation change following burning of sagebrush-grass range
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Roy O. Harniss, Robert B. Murray

Management Documents

2016 The integrated rangeland fire management strategy actionable science plan
Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan Team
2014 Using resistance and resilience concepts to reduce impacts of invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes on the sagebrush ecosystem and greater sage-grouse: a strategic multi-scale approach
Jeanne C. Chambers, David A. Pyke, Jeremy D. Maestas, Michael L. Pellant, Chad S. Boyd, Steven B. Campbell, Shawn Espinosa, Douglas W. Havlina, Kenneth E. Mayer, Amarina Wuenschel
2002 Conservation of greater sage-grouse on public lands in the Western U.S.: implications of recovery and management policies
Carl L. Wambolt, Aaron J. Harp, Bruce L. Welch, Nancy L. Shaw, John W. Connelly, Kerry P. Reese, Clait E. Braun, Donald A. Klebenow, E. Durant McArthur, James G. Thompson, L. Allen Torell, John A. Tanaka
2000 Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats
John W. Connelly, Michael A. Schroeder, Alan R. Sands, Clait E. Braun